By Zac Ellis
Oregon did not receive a bowl ban as part of the sanctions handed down by the NCAA's Committee on Infractions on Wednesday. Following an investigation of two-plus years into the program's recruiting practices, the Ducks, who are preseason national title contenders, remain eligible for both the Pac-12 title and BCS postseason play.
Oregon, which has been placed on three years of probation, also avoided major scholarship reductions. The Ducks can offer one fewer scholarship in each of the next two seasons and can roster one fewer scholarship player in each of the next three seasons.
In addition, former coach Chip Kelly, who is now with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, received an 18-month show-cause penalty. The NCAA's show-cause penalty essentially makes a coach unemployable, but since Kelly is no longer with the university, this penalty fails to carry the weight it otherwise would. Kelly issued a statement following Wednesday's news, saying: "I want to apologize to the University of Oregon, all of its current and former players and their fans. I accept my share of responsibility for the actions that led to the penalties." Kelly also claimed the ongoing NCAA investigation didn't impact his decision to leave Oregon.
The NCAA's investigation stemmed from a $25,000 payment in 2010 to Will Lyles and his Houston-based recruiting service, Complete Scouting Services. According to an NCAA statement, "The University of Oregon used a recruiting service provider, who became a representative of the university’s athletics interests, to assist the school with the recruitment of multiple prospective student-athletes." The NCAA also hit the program with a number of recruiting and probationary penalties. A full list of the sanctions is included in the statement and is listed below:
• Public reprimand and censure.
• Three years of probation from June 26, 2013 through June 25, 2016.
• An 18-month show cause order for the former head coach. The public report contains further details.
• A one-year show-cause order for the former assistant director of operations. The public report contains further details.
• A reduction of initial football scholarships by one from the maximum allowed (25) during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years (imposed by the university).
• A reduction of total football scholarships by one from the maximum allowed (85) during the 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years (imposed by the university).
• A reduction of official paid football visits from 56 to 37 for the 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 academic years.
• A reduction of permissible football evaluation days from 42 to 36 in the fall of 2013, 2014 and 2015 and permissible football evaluation days from 168 to 144 in the spring of 2014, 2015 and 2016.
• A ban on the subscription to recruiting services during the probation period.
• A disassociation of the recruiting service provider. Details of the disassociation are included in the public report (imposed by the university).